perhaps it has survived the War. If so, it has my
Next day we took it easy. The day after that we
travelled to our destination. I have been looking at
the map. The distance, by a straight line, was fifty
miles. Sixty-five, perhaps, by road; an easy three
hours' drive for the Divisional General in his car.
Not so easy for the rank and file, whose experiences
of migration were summarized well and truly by a
private soldier, in a simple sentence which once met
my eye while I was censoring the correspondence of
my platoon. "Our company have been for a bath
to-day and had a clean shirt given us and socks. We
had to march five miles each way, so we had a good
walk for it, didn't we? My feet are minus all the top
skin. Everywhere we go seems such a long way" In those
last words one infantry private speaks for them all.
Our big move to the back area began at six a.m.
We had to be up by then, for our kits had to be packed
and ready by half-past seven. As soon as we had eaten
our bacon and eggs in the stuffy billet by the light
of a candle, the officers* servants began to pack up the
tin plates and dishes, and I remember how I went out
alone into the first grey of the morning and up the
village street with the cocks crowing. I walked slowly
up to some higher ground with a view of woods and
steeples and colliery chimneys; rooks were cawing in
some tall trees against the faint colours of a watery
daybreak, and the cure came out of his gate in a
garden wall and said good-morning to me as he
passed. It was Sunday morning, and by eight o'clock
there was a sound of church bells from far and near.